Liberalism: Great Depression and American People Essay

Submitted By bonniesingh
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Bonnie Singh 3/9/14
AP US History Mr.McAlley Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the president of the United States in March 1933, during an age consisting of the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in American history; the Great Depression. The Great Depression was initiated by the infamous stock market crash of autumn 1929 resulting in drastic national economic loss for all Americans. In result over thirteen million people were unemployed, including farmers, who were unable to sell their goods fairly and were forced into bankruptcy. Another issue was the failing US banking system that practically ceased to function resulting in more than 11,000 banks to close. America appeared to be falling into an economic abyss with no avail. FDR’s solution to these troubling times was to initiate “The New Deal” as a catalyst for the American people to alleviate the worst effects of the depression, reinvigorate the economy, and restore the confidence of the American people in their banks. however he was not always successful, for example unemployment remained high even after the New Deal was enacted especially for minorities who continued to have little to no economic opportunities. Overall FDR’s new deal had a liberal domestic agenda that successfully revolutionized the plummeting American economy despite certain aspects of the economy that remained the same.
After the stock market crashed the American people lost billions of dollars; over $75 billion in equity capital was gone, the gross national product decreased to $74 billion from the $104 billion, and U.S. exports fell by 62 percent. Companies suffered like never before, the sudden deficiency of money resulted in either collapse or drastic down size of all businesses, culminating the unemployment of millions. Unemployment was higher than ever before, comprising of over thirteen million people and the national rate of unemployment was nearly 25 percent. FDR attempted to rectify the stifling number of the unemployed through financial aid programs that provided jobs for millions of Americans. One of the first of these programs was the Civil Works Administration that administered the unemployed jobs in construction through the promotion of public works such as building or repairing roads, parks, airports, etc. The CWA's workers laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and built or improved 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, nearly 1,000 airports building 250,000, and built desperately needed outhouses in rural America. The CWA also provided a psychological and physical boost to its 4 million workers. Another example of a way the New Deal fought unemployment was civilian conservation corps that not only created jobs for over 500,000 men, but promoted environmental conservation and built good citizens through vigorous, disciplined outdoor labor. The CCC was highly successful the CCC and was responsible for over half the reforestation, public and private, done in the nation’s history. Corpsmen also dug canals and ditches, built over thirty thousand wildlife shelters, stocked rivers and lakes with nearly a billion fish, restored historic battlefields, and cleared beaches and campgrounds. Unfortunately the CCC was also an example of how relief programs were biased against racial minorities. Much like in eras before, African American had unequal job opportunities, this is a continuous dilemma that has been present from the civil war and did not change even affect the implication of numerous unemployment programs. The combined works of the new deal did create millions of jobs however it did not recuperate for the billions of jobs lost. Throughout the years that the new deal was active the unemployment rate only improved by 5 percent, a marginal amount proving the unemployment was something was continuously present before and after the new deal. Unlike city workers the economic hardships that farmers faced commenced from the 1920s onwards and